In their first three games, the Orlando Magic earned marquee wins over the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Miami Heat, but their one blemish, a 126-121 loss to the Brooklyn Nets, still felt like it got away.
In the fourth game of the year, Orlando had a chance to avenge that loss, and despite trailing for most of the game, they were clutch when it counted. For the second time in as many home games, the late scoring of Evan Fournier pushed the Magic over the hump, and it was Aaron Gordon that got them there.
Gordon and Fournier have always been key pieces for the Magic, but in 2017, they’ve kicked it into overdrive, and Tuesday’s win showed just how good they can be.
Tuesday’s game appeared to be a cold dose of reality when the Nets took the lead right after halftime on a D’Angelo Russell jumper. The away team seemed like they’d never give it back, as their fast-paced, three-point shooting offense ballooned the lead to as many as 12 points against a lethargic Magic offense.
But then the newly clutch Orlando Magic flipped the switch and decided they wouldn’t be embarrassed again.
“We showed that tonight we got down and things were not perfect by any stretch,” said Magic coach Frank Vogel, “We can play a lot better but ultimately in the fourth quarter we buckled down enough on the defensive end and we made enough big shots.”
When the game was on the line, Fournier sunk two clutch three-pointers, and Gordon hit one of his own to send the Nets back to Brooklyn with a loss.
In this one, Aaron Gordon was a monster who scored 41 points and poured in 14 rebounds in a tone-setting performance for his 2017 campaign. He was unstoppable under the rim, as Nets defenders could only watch helplessly or wrap him up with an intentional foul. He was a perfect 5-of-5 from beyond the arc as well, leaving no spot on the floor unsafe from his scoring prowess.
Evan Fournier poured in 28 points to go along with six rebounds and four assists in the victory, and he helped power the Magic comeback. Orlando took the lead with just under four minutes to go in the game and traded blows with the Nets until they were the last team standing.
It was Gordon’s final three-pointer on a Nikola Vucevic pass that sealed the seal, however.
“I just shot it confidently,” said Gordon, “it was a quick shot, yeah, no it felt good coming off of my hands. Vuc did a great job driving, kicking, and I just stepped up and knocked it down.”
The Magic (3-1) will look to capitalize on this momentum in their next game when they take on the San Antonio Spurs at the Amway Center on Friday at 7:00 P.M.